There are thousands of components that make a home and thousands of things that could go wrong. Out of the many reasons a homeowner would need to file a home insurance claim, the most common claim made to home insurance companies is for burst pipes as a result of freezing temperatures. On average, the pipe repair, structural repair, restoration and flood mitigation that are required after a burst pipe adds up to about $5000.
The best way to prevent this scenario is to prevent the pipes from freezing to begin with. Here are a few tips for avoiding the need for pipe repair over the winter:
- Leave your faucets dripping on cold nights. The added kinetic energy of moving water through the pipes prevents them from freezing even when the temperatures dip far below the freezing point of 32 degrees.
- Open cabinet doors on cold nights. Most kitchens have an outside facing wall with increases the likelihood of freezing pipes. By opening the cabinet doors, it allows the heat inside the home to help keep the pipes warm. On especially cold nights, put a space heater on low directly facing the pipes under the sink.
- Wrap exposed pipes with insulation. Your local hardware store will be able to supply pipe foam and insulating tape for less than $10. This simple precaution can save you thousands of dollars by avoiding keeping those exposed pipes toasty in cool weather. If you don’t have access to the proper supplies, you can still achieve a level of protection by simply insulating the pipes with an old blanket or towels and duct tape.
- If you’re going to be away while temperatures are likely to dip, take precautions to winterize your home. Leave the heat on so the home (and pipes) don’t get too cool. As previously mentioned, wrap your pipes and leave the cabinet doors open before you leave. Ideally, have someone stop by and turn the faucets on before forecasted freezing conditions while you’re away. If you suspect pipes could have burst, it’s a good idea to have someone conduct a quick pipe inspection immediately after freezing temperatures and make any necessary pipe repairs, so your home doesn’t continue flood while you’re away.
- Stay on top of pipe maintenance. Since you cannot see all of your pipes, you may incur a leak that you are not aware of until extensive damage has been caused. Having a regularly scheduled video pipe inspection is a great way to mitigate any pipe issues before they are pipe nightmares. This also helps you identify weaknesses in the pipes where breakage is likely if they freeze. If your home and pipes are older than 40 years old, you have a heightened risk of pipe breakage and should get an annual inspection.
Do you have any tips for preventing frozen pipes that we didn’t mention? Please provide your input in the comment section below.